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BOSNIA AND HERCEGOVINA

Mostarska Bijela

17 Jun 2021 .Wild and Free

©Crédit: Ranch-Bar U - bogdan

About

Wild and Free

My name is Mersed Ibrahimović, better known as @wildandfreebih on Instagram. I enjoy the mountains, camping under the stars, the natural beauties of Bosnia and Herzegovina and I convey that through photography and videos I share on my social networks. Sometimes I travel alone, sometimes I enjoy the company. By combining my love for video and photography with the natural wonders of BiH I have created a match made in heaven.

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If I had to quickly describe the road to Mostarska Bijela, it would go something along these lines: "when you see the first snake, turn right and after you see the second one, go to the left". On your next turn, if you're lucky, you're going to see a very shy turtle that will try to hide away from you as quickly as possible. After a little over an hour of walking on macadam, you will arrive at a parked camper, which is irresistibly reminiscent of the "Magic bus" from the movie "Into the Wild" (I believe many hikers and nature lovers are familiar with this movie). The road leads straight, but we are taking a turn to the right.

Finally, we are finding some shade, followed by a slight ascent and a walk through the woods. First, we go to the "Kravlja pećina" and after that to the Bijela cave - and that's it!

And now let's talk about this route a bit more serious and in more detail.

Once you park your car at the starting point you will see a board featuring some details about the route. It usually takes around two, two and a half hours to get to the destination. We continue walking on the macadam and arrive at a gate that can be easily opened. As I mentioned earlier, this is a part of the road that gets rather monotonous, at least for me. You will have to walk on a rocky road for quite some time in strong sunlight, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes and a hat to protect you from the sun.

Pay close attention to where you are stepping, you don't want to disturb a snake. Just as you don't want to meet a viper or some other venomous snake, they would also prefer not to see you. If it does happen to you, just as it happened to me, just let the snake know you are nearby. Hit a stone within reach with a stick because snakes are highly sensitive to vibrations and the sound will make them go the other way. We have a saying for this "Pametniji popušta" (The smarter one gives in).

So after an hour or so, you will see the road branching off to the right and leading to the Lupoglav, the peak of the Prenj Mountain. We continue our trip straight and even though the markings are very poor in the first part of the trail, it is difficult to get lost. If you just follow the traces of the macadam road and tire tracks left behind by some larger SUVs, you will arrive at a parked camper. Next to the camper, you will see a clear marking that says you don't need to follow that road anymore, but rather continue through the forest where you'll finally find some shade. The trail through the woods has several intersections as well, mostly made by the dry riverbed. Again, pay close attention to the markings, because the path we took to get to the camper leads straight, but our trail continues into the forest to the right (it is possible you will read this sometimes in the future and the camper might not be here).

The first thing that will come to your mind is "finally some shade" but then you realise there is a climb through the forest ahead of you. Luckily, the ascent is not so scary, so just take it easy and enjoy the road. The closer you get to the "Kravlja pećina" and the rocks, the more you will feel the rush of a very pleasant and refreshing cold air. Make sure to take a break here, get some rest, eat something and take a few photos. Now, after you've walked for two hours, got some rest, there are only 20 minutes of a walk between you and the cave entrance. One important piece of information to share with you, which I haven't come across while reading on this topic, is don't forget to bring some kind of slippers with you, because cold water flows through the cave. If you are sensitive to the cold you might even consider bringing boots with you. Coming into the cave, there is cold water coming up to your ankles and a lot of tiny frogs jumping around in all directions. Don't be afraid of them, just be careful not to step on one. They are very dexterous and you can't really catch them or take a photo of them because of how fast they are. Now, the real magic begins. The light refracts in the most beautiful way, there are cold rocks all around you - truly something you have to experience by yourself, it's hard to describe it only through photography and words.

I was absolutely thrilled and amazed by this scenery. Our BiH keeps on surprising me with new beauties and treasures, while jealously hiding them within its depths. It usually is like that, all beautiful places are hidden and hard to reach. If we are careful and respectful to nature, it will reward us with amazing sights, just like the sight you will see at the end of this cave - the water falling into the cave and forming a magical waterfall.

After feasting our eyes for a while we are heading to the exit to warm up a bit because the temperature in the cave is around 5 to 7 degrees.

On the way back to the "Kravlja pećina", after five minutes you should see a small narrow path on the right that leads to the lookout with an enchanting view. There is no sign for the lookout, so pay close attention to the road branching off to the right.

Good luck and enjoy!